The Germans are renowned for the build quality of their cars with one manufacturer even making a reliability claim in their slogan.
The German cars meet a particular set of requirements laid down well before the car actually goes into production. These requirements help lay the basis of reliability which these manufacturers are world renowned for.
What would happen if the Germans built cars of the highest build quality but found it difficult to sell them in profitable numbers?
Sound difficult to believe?
Well, one manufacturer designed and developed a car which was made to exceptionally high quality standards. Even so the car has failed to sell in profitable numbers leading to a loss which the manufacturer has had to write off.
The car in question's build quality and reliability are unprecedented. The level of equipment offered as standard and the performance of the car is second to none.
However the cars sales have made no serious impact on its rivals, with high depreciation being commonplace.
People who buy cars in the sector that this German manufacturer has developed their car for, are simply not willing to pay the same money that an executive Mercedes or BMW would command for their brand of car. Irrespective of its super build quality, luxurious specification and scintillating performance.
Whilst the car in question can be viewed as meeting the requirements set by the manufacturer, where a high quality vehicle has been assembled for the executive car sector. The requirements themselves could be viewed as being incomplete, whereby customer needs haven't been correctly identified.
Quality isn't just about building something and then checking to see whether the build quality is great.
There are different components needed to develop a comprehensive set of requirements. In part fulfilling these requirement components, isn't going to lead to marketable products.
In the case of this German manufacturer the requirements would have included a set of technical specifications and a set of goals in what the organisation hoped to achieve.
However, the important customer requirements were probably not detailed enough. Whilst they may have looked at what a customer demanded from a car in this sector on a technical level.
They probably fell short of checking to see whether the customer would be prepared to pay what the manufacturer thought was a realistic price for an executive car.
Furthermore, they could have established clearly in the requirements what a customer would be prepared to pay for an executive car.
By establishing what their customer required they could have built an executive car but for the lower end of the executive market. Allowing them to capitalise on customers from this market and potentially allowing them to become profitable with their new smaller executive car.
Requirements aren't just technical specifications but also include what a customer wants from a product.
Without a shadow of a doubt establishing clear requirements is the most important part of any project to design and develop products.